Luiz Francisco de Avezedo and Collin Win $25k Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix

Luiz Francisco de Avezedo and Collin. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – Sept. 19, 2021 – The ESP September show reached its pinnacle on Sunday as 23 entries took to the Derby Field for a chance to win the lion’s share of the prize money in the $25,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix. The course, designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU), proved to be a difficult one to master as only three starters advanced to the jump-off, but was no match for the only double-clear contenders of the contest and the class winners, Luiz Francisco de Avezedo (BRA) and Collin, owned by Santa Cecilia Stables. The win is one of many victories earned by the Brazilian and Collin during their longtime partnership, which amazingly began by purchasing the horse before he reached the slaughterhouse.

Competition on the Derby Field kicked off Friday morning with the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Steak. Diego Vivero (ECU) and his own entry, Zambia Mystic Rose, sped their way to the top of the leaderboard after clearing the jump-off in 37.15 seconds.

Vivero found himself in the winner’s circle once again on Saturday after topping the Ford’s Garage 1.35m Stake. He and his own Flipper Lady posted double-clear rounds with a jump-off time of 35.74 seconds to take home top honors.

In Sunday morning’s $2,500 Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline, six pairs advanced to the jump-off over the 1.30m fences, led by Catalina Peralta of Geneva, FL on Wendy Peralta’s Amore from Second Life Z. The duo won the class with a double-clear time of 38.85 seconds.

Isabel Beltran and Sazerac Secure First Derby Win in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Isabel Beltran of Jupiter, FL and IMB of Jupiter LLC’s Sazerac captured the win in ESP September’s highlight hunter class, the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline. The class took place on Friday at Equestrian Village and marked a special occasion for the duo as it was their first derby win together.

In the Amateur-Owner 3’3”/3’6” Hunters, sponsored by Vita Flex, Jennifer Speisman of Wellington, FL piloted her own Totality to the championship honors. The duo earned three first-place results, along with a second place and third place, to secure the highest number of points on the overall scorecard.

Stephen Lengyel of Wellington, FL rode Carolyn Teneyck’s Formal Attire to the championship tricolor in the USHJA 3’ Hunter division, presented by Perfect Products. Over the course of five classes, the pair received three second-place ribbons and two fourth-place ribbons.

The Junior 3’3”/3’6” Hunters, sponsored by #1 Education Place, saw Kat Fuqua of Atlanta, GA and her own Grand Remo ride away with victory in the division after earning three blue ribbons and two red ribbons.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Nicolas Delmotte and Urvoso du Roch Win RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder)

Fifty world-class horse and rider combinations entertained CHIO Aachen’s crowds over one round and a jump-off in Friday’s feature class, the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia, the final chance for those riders not already qualified to book their place in the week’s pinnacle event, Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix.

Second to go, Germany’s Jana Wargers made the 17-fence Frank Rothenberger-designed course look straightforward, effortlessly going clear with her 12-year-old Eve Jobs-owned bay stallion, Limbridge, in 87.02s. The 30-year-old – currently ranked number 361 in the world – was to hold on to top spot for the majority of the first round, after many of the sport’s very best were unable to emulate her performance and go clear, demonstrating how difficult the course was. However, reigning Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping champion, Great Britain’s Scott Brash, and his 12-year-old gelding, Hello Jefferson, and Nicolas Delmotte of France and his 13-year-old gelding, Urvoso Du Roch, both demonstrated their talent, confidently navigating the course without accruing any penalties, thereby triggering a deciding three-horse jump-off.

First to go in the jump-off, it looked as though the crowd favourite, Jana Wargers, would make it a fairy-tale ending after going double clear in a time of 47.03s. Next up, Scott Brash was to also go double clear, but over a second faster than the German managed, slotting into top spot with just one rider to go. Last to go, July’s winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at the Chantilly Masters, Nicolas Delmotte breezed the jump-off, eventually eclipsing Scott Brash’s time, finishing double clear in 45.03s.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix, current world number 25, Delmotte, commented: “I’m very happy about this season’s results that I’ve had with Urvoso du Roch and also today. I’m feeling confident with him, but this will be the very first Major of his career, so I am looking forward to the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday.”

On his 13-year-old gelding, Urvoso du Roch, who he competed with at the recent Tokyo Games, the Frenchman said: “He’s very sensitive, but he didn’t start very well with his previous rider, and would sometimes refuse jumps. Now, he has a bit of a funny technique, and I think he has to really grow into these classes with their heights. I will have to be very careful with how I ride him, to make sure I give him the opportunity to jump well, so he can use his technique to the best of his ability.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Stop the Brutal Killing of Donkeys Worldwide

Ejiao. One tiny word with massive global impacts. Ejiao is a gel made from boiling donkey skins. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine, cosmetics, and beauty products.

Millions of the world’s donkeys (some of whom are American wild burros) are slaughtered every year for their skins. You read that correctly. Millions.

According to Brooke USA, a nonprofit fighting to protect working equids, the world’s total burro population could be cut in half within 5 years.

That’s 22 million donkey lives lost.

The impacts of this barbaric trade extend beyond the cruel fate of the animals themselves. In impoverished rural communities, donkeys are frequently stolen and slaughtered, sometimes right outside their owner’s property. Imagine waking to find your beloved burro, the animal upon whom you rely for your livelihood, was stolen and killed while you slept.

These animals need your help.

Amazon is the leading online retailer of Ejiao in the US. Brooke USA is calling on Amazon to STOP selling this cruel product – and we want to help.

Click here to send a quick message to Amazon executives urging them to stop supplying Ejiao. Together we can make a difference for our beloved burros.

To find out more about the Ejiao trade and how you can help working horses, mules, and donkeys worldwide, please visit Brooke USA’s website HERE.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Success for Adoptable Horses Spotlighted at Hampton Classic Horse Show

Adoptable equines and volunteers from EQUUS Foundation Guardian Charity, Rising Starr Horse Rescue, with Brianne Goutal-Marteau, Valerie Angeli, Georgina Bloomberg, and Jill Rappaport @ Geoff Tischman Photography.

The sun was shining in full force for the opening Grand Prix at the 2021 Hampton Classic on Sunday, August 29, when adoptable equines paraded before spectators prior to the start of the competition. The parade previewed the equines who would be featured the next day at the Equine Adoption Meet & Greet presented by the EQUUS Foundation.

Leading the parade was EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar, top International rider, and sponsor of the Hampton Classic Animal Adoption Day, Georgina Bloomberg. Bloomberg was joined by renown animal welfare advocate, media personality, and best-selling author, Jill Rappaport, and Valerie Angeli, EQUUS Foundation VP, with a special appearance by super model and horse advocate, Christie Brinkley.

Top equestrian and EQUUS Foundation EQUUStar, Brianne Goutal-Marteau, joined Bloomberg and Rappaport to meet and greet spectators at the Equine Adoption event.

“We are so grateful to the Hampton Classic Horse Show to have this opportunity to showcase adoptable equines and to raise awareness on how horses become at risk and how everyone can help, and to Georgina Bloomberg for making this event possible,” said Angeli.

“The 2021 event was especially rewarding because seven equines from EQUUS Foundation Guardian charity, Rising Starr Horse Rescue in Wilton, CT, found forever homes directly as a result of the event. We can’t say enough about how much we love our partnership with Georgina and the Hampton Classic Horse Show and would like to give a shout out to Shanette Cohen, Executive Director of the Hampton Classic Horse Show, and her staff.”

“It just goes to show that awareness and visibility is everything,” said Kelly Stackpole, Executive Director and Founder of Rising Starr.

Bunny and Turtle are 10-year-old mini donkeys who arrived at Rising Starr when a vet convinced the owner to surrender them instead of euthanizing them. They will live now out the rest of their lives at a private farm in North Salem, NY.

Rising Starr became aware of two black three-year-old Falabella Pony/Mini Horse cross mares, Daphne and Velma, from a Craig’s List ad and acquired them to keep them from winding up at auction and the threat of slaughter as many horses do when sold this way. They were adopted by Laurel Crown Farm, a Long Island show barn, where they will be their much-loved mascots.

Xander, a 13-year-old chestnut Quarter Horse, had been purchased at an auction in Texas, and was transferred to Rising Starr. When Xander’s new owners came to Rising Starr to take him home, they also fell in love with rescues Gunner and Odin, and adopted them as well. So Xander, Gunner, and Odin went to their new home together as pleasure and trail horses at a beautiful, private farm in the New York Catskills.

There was also interest in Violet, a Thoroughbred/Quarter cross from Rising Starr Rescue. Learn more about Violet here.

In addition to Rising Starr, the Retired Racehorse Project participated with a demonstration by Erica E. Rossner aboard the talented Mr. October (“Toby”), a chestnut gelding and son of famous Thoroughbred, Smarty Jones, who won the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness in 2004. With his career as a racehorse having come to an end, Toby, now seven years old, is showing major promise as a hunter/jumper/eventing prospect and is representative of the many off track Thoroughbreds who excel at their second careers and depend on opportunities to be all they can be.

Trainer Rob West from the Mustang Heritage Foundation was also on hand to enlighten spectators on how wild Mustangs are at risk and currently their lives and quality of their lives sadly depend on adoption and second careers as mascots and riding horses. West demonstrated the versatility and bravery of the Mustang with Mocha, only two months out of the wild and who will be available for adoption at the upcoming Mustang Makeover event, and two of his own Mustangs, Lori Darlin and Moonshine Lady.

The close of the 2021 Hampton Classic Horse Show also marked the conclusion of a matching campaign for the EQUUS Foundation, where donations made from August 16 through September 5 would be matched by prize money won by EQUUS Foundation Equine Ambassador, Lafitte De Muze, and donated by his owner, Cheryl Olsten, up to $30,000.

“We are thrilled to announce that Cheryl increased the match to $35,000 on learning that we received $35,000 in donations during the campaign to directly benefit EQUUS Foundation Guardian charities involved with the rescue and re-homing of horses in need of next chapters,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President. “We are deeply grateful to Cheryl Olsten, Lafitte De Muze, his rider, Amanda Steege, and our donors for helping to make wishes come true for America’s horses in need of help.”

View more photos of Hampton Classic Equine Adoption Day here.

Contact the Hampton Classic at PO Box 3013, Bridgehampton, NY 11932, Tele: (631) 537-3177, E-Mail: Info@HamptonClassic.com, Website: www.hamptonclassic.com.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Max Kühner and Elektric Blue P Win the Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

Following Tuesday evening’s Official Opening Ceremony, 2021’s edition of CHIO Aachen well and truly got underway with Wednesday’s Turkish Airlines – Prize of Europe, a qualifier for Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix. The two-round Frank Rothenberger-designed course over 14 obstacles was staged in the iconic 40,000-seater Hauptstadion and contested by 48 horse and rider combinations representing 16 nations.

In the first round, Philipp Schulze Topphoff and his 11-year-old grey mare, Concordess NRW, set the early pace, going clear in a time of 84.86s. The German’s time was eventually bettered by both Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and his 14-year-old stallion, VDL Cartello, and Pieter Devos of Belgium and his 13-year-old mare, Mom’s Isaura, after they completed the 17-fence course fault-free in 84.37s and 84.77s, respectively.

With the best 25% of Round 1’s finishers qualifying for Round 2, nine further stellar combinations would progress, including the current world number one-ranked rider from Germany, Daniel Deusser (Bingo Ste Hermelle), Tokyo 2020 Team bronze medallists, Jérôme Guery (Eras Ste Hermelle) and Gregory Wathelet (Full House Ter Linden Z), Dutch duo Bart Bles (Gin D) and Marc Houtzager (Sterrehof’s Dante N.O.P.), Portugal’s Luciana Diniz (Vertigo du Desert), Patricio Pasquel of Mexico (Babel), Israeli Daniel Bluman (Gemma W), and Max Kühner from Austria (Elektric Blue P).

First to go, April’s winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters, Max Kühner, set off at blistering pace, completing the shorted nine-obstacle second round course without posting a penalty in 56.36s. One by one, and without success, the remaining riders desperately tried to better Kühner’s impressive time, which looked increasingly impossible. Daniel Deusser looked to be in contention, but put the penultimate pole down, and Gregory Wathelet was eventually outdone by the last. Jérôme Guery came within half a second of the Austrian’s time, while Luciana Diniz went agonisingly close, finishing just 0.19s off top spot. When Ireland’s on-form Darragh Kenny put three down, an ecstatic Kühner claimed the win, a seemingly perfect preparation for him and his champion 10-year-old bay gelding ahead of Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix.

Commenting on his Rolex Grand Prix strategy for his Major-winning partner, Elektric Blue P, Kühner, commented: “Tomorrow I will rest him and I will ride him on the flat a little bit. I will feel him and he will tell me what we do next. Either I will just leave him and work him until Sunday, or I will do one more small class, just to keep him a little bit in the rhythm and jumping. Sunday will be very big, so if we go all these days without jumping him, it might be too big in the beginning. He’s a very careful horse, so I’ll probably jump him in one more small round, which will keep him in the rhythm.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Tryon Fall Horse Trials: Boyd Martin Aces Advanced

Boyd Martin and Wabanaki ©Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Mill Spring, NC – September 13, 2021 – Boyd Martin (Cochranville, PA) and Wabanaki conquered the White Oak Cross-Country Course to win the Advanced A Division at the Tryon Fall Horse Trials at Tryon International Equestrian Center & Resort (TIEC) with a final score of 47.3. Sitting fourth after the Dressage and Show Jumping phases, Martin stepped up to the occasion and put in the fastest Cross-Country round of the day to add only 7.2 time penalties and take the win. Wrapping up her weekend in second place with a final score of 51.1 was Lillian Heard (Cochranville, PA) and Dasset Olympus, the 2013 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Debbie Greenspan. Third place honors were awarded to Lucienne Bellissimo (Wellington, FL) and Atlantic Vital Spark, the 2010 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Horse Scout Eventing LLC with a score of 51.6.

Martin, who topped the competition aboard Wabanaki, the 2011 Hanoverian gelding owned by The Dawnland Syndicate, began on top after a Dressage test that earned the duo a score of 32.1. Though the tough competition proved to be no big deal for Wabanaki, Martin shared that his mount is still new to the Advanced division: “It’s his third crack at the level. He was absolutely fantastic for where he is in his training. He still needs to grow, learn, and get more seasoned. Tryon put on a spectacular event. Obviously, it was a difficult and tough competition, but it was a great learning experience for the young ones.”

Martin galloped to a time of 6:43 seconds in the cross country phase of the competition, over ten seconds ahead of Heard’s time of 6:54 seconds. The White Oak Cross-Country Course with tracks set by Captain Mark Phillips (GBR) offered Martin the perfect number of challenges, while still building Wabanaki’s confidence. Martin commented, “There were a lot of difficult combinations followed by easier fences. It was good for the young ones to have a tough question and then nice and easy ones to keep them confident.

“Hats off to Tryon, because the footing feels like the golf course it is. The footing out there is spectacular,” Martin emphasized. “I love Tryon and everything about it. The venue is world class from the Dressage rings to jumping under the lights last night in front of the crowd. There’s great stabling. The Cross-Country course takes a bit of riding because it used to be a golf course, so it has those mounds and dips, which is good practice,” Martin relayed. “Tryon has been unbelievable with the irrigation system. Walking out on the course, the grass was all spongey, which the horses love.”

For full results from the Tryon Fall Horse Trials, click here.

For more info and results, visit www.Tryon.com.

CHIO Aachen 2021 Rolex Grand Slam ‘Rider Watch’

Steve Guerdat at the CHIO Aachen 2019 (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

After immense anticipation, CHIO Aachen returns on 14-19 September following a one-year hiatus, as a result of COVID-19. An exceptional list of 66 riders from 17 nations, which includes 19 of the world’s current top 30-ranked athletes, are confirmed to travel to the North Rhine-Westphalia city in the west of Germany, bringing a total of 210 extraordinarily talented horses. Unsurprisingly, home nation Germany will be represented by no fewer than 18 athletes, with current world number one, Daniel Deusser, the stand-out and in-form rider.

As well as hosting feature classes on each of the five days of world-class equestrian action, including the Mercedes-Benz Nations´ Cup team jumping competition, the globally renowned show, which dates back to 1924, is set to conclude with the inimitable 1m60 Rolex Grand Prix, the third Major of the year, as part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Newly-crowned Live Contender, Steve Guerdat – following his stunning victory in Sunday CP ‘International’ at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ – will now continue his epic Rolex Grand Slam journey at CHIO Aachen where he will defend his Live Contender status.

Current world number one-ranked rider, Germany’s Daniel “Double D” Deusser travels to CHIO Aachen with a stable of four horses, including his 11-year-old mare, Killer Queen Vdm, with whom he finished second in the Rolex Grand Prix at last month’s Brussels Stephex Masters.

After flying the flag for Switzerland at last week’s CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, current world number three, Martin Fuchs, is accompanied by five of his star horses, including his two geldings, nine-year-old Leone Jei and 13-year-old The Sinner, and his seven-year-old mare, Diva Van Het Cauterhof Z, who will feature in the classes for Young Horses.

Also present in Calgary is Great Britain’s Scott Brash, who in 2015 became the first and only rider to be crowned the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Champion. Current world number four, Brash will be hoping to start his Rolex Grand Slam journey at the CHIO Aachen, and brings three of his horses, Hello Jefferson, Hello Shelby, and Hello Vittoria, the former who the Scot partnered to an impressive Grand Prix victory with at Valkenswaard in July.

Much to the delight of show jumping fans worldwide, Brash’s British teammate – the recently crowned Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Individual Jumping champion and current world number six – Ben Maher teams up with his formidable 12-year-old gelding, Explosion W. The duo looks to be the ones to beat, and are sure to have their sights set on victory in the Rolex Grand Prix on the final day of the competition. Maher also travels with his highly regarded seven-year-old, Point Break.

Currently sitting 10th in the world rankings, recent European Team Jumping champion and the only rider to compete at each of the Majors since the inception of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in 2013, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat puts his faith once again in Albfuehren’s Maddox. His 10-year-old stallion travels to CHIO Aachen alongside his gifted 12-year-old gelding, Victorio des Frotards.

Joint world number 27-ranked riders, America’s Laura Kraut and compatriot Jessica Springsteen both travel to westernmost Germany full of confidence after the pair played an integral role in securing the United States’ Team Jumping silver medal at last month’s Olympic Games. Kraut travels to CHIO Aachen with her Olympic partner, 11-year-old gelding Baloutinue, and her experienced 14-year-old gelding, Confu. Meanwhile, Springsteen travels with 12-year-old stallion, Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve, with whom she partnered at Tokyo 2020, and her stand-out 14-year-old mare, Rmf Zecilie, with whom she won the Rolex Grand Prix at the Brussels Stephex Masters just over a fortnight ago.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

BLM Plans Feedlot to Hold 4,000 Wild Horses

Increased funding from Congress has enabled the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dramatically increase removals of wild horses and burros from our public lands this year.

It’s expected that more than 17,000 wild horses and burros will be removed in FY2021, a more than 50% increase over last year.

Now BLM is scrambling to find places to hold our removed wild horses and burros. Their answer? Factory farm-style feedlots.

One current proposal would allow 4,000 wild horses and burros to be confined in dirt pens on just 100 acres of land near Winnemucca, Nevada. These iconic, once wild and free animals will be forced to live, eat, and sleep in their own waste – which is a recipe for disease and death in such confined quarters.

Not surprisingly, this is a BLM partnership to benefit a livestock transport company. Once again, our magnificent wild horses and burros lose everything while Big Animal Agriculture gains.

Please take a moment to express your strong opposition to this ill-conceived plan.

Each of us must be on the record objecting to this proposal for the many legitimate humane, environmental, and tax-dollar accountability problems it creates. Please take quick action here!

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Steve Guerdat and Venard de Cerisy Win the CP ‘International’

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

2021’s edition of the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ culminated with the week’s pinnacle class, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. The second Major of the year, as part of the revered Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, welcomed 28 horse and rider combinations, who would go head-to-head in their individual quests to become the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender. Austrian Max Kühner had his sights set on retaining his Live Contender status after winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in April.

The ultimate show jumping test for horse and rider, the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course would be contested over 14 demanding obstacles within the confines of Spruce Meadows’ imposing International Ring. With the competition watched on by 2,000 excited and knowledgeable spectators – the maximum allowed under COVID-19 restrictions – and with just 12 pairings progressing to Round 2, the stakes were high, with the riders all too aware that there was very little margin for error.

Australian Rowan Willis, a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, set the early Round 1 pace with his 15-year-old mare, Blue Movie, jumping fault-free in 80.99s. Home favourite Mario Deslauriers confidently progressed to Round 2 with his 12-year-old mare, Bardolina 2, crossing the line in 83.00s without a penalty. Swiss Steve Guerdat and Australian Hilary Scott were the only other riders to navigate the Round 1 course without picking up any penalties. The eight riders also advancing to Round 2 included Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, Canadian Erynn Ballard, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward, Will Simpson, and Natalie Dean from America, Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro, and Briton Scott Brash.

In a change of fortunes, American duo, Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, faultlessly steered their equestrian partners around the second round course, after each put a fence down in the first. Hot on the American pair’s heels was reigning Rolex Grand Slam champion, Scott Brash, who added just four penalty points to his first round score. However, it was former world number one Steve Guerdat who was to assume top spot after he effortlessly guided his prodigious 12-year-old gelding, Venard de Cerisy, around the 14-fence course. Following Guerdat’s performance, the final two riders to go were Deslauriers and Willis; however, neither were able to match their first round scores, meaning the three-time World Cup winner (2015, 2016, 2019) and 2012 Olympic Individual jumping champion won the CP ‘International’, and in doing so was crowned the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Live Contender.

The only rider to compete at each of the Majors since the inception of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Guerdat commented: “I’ve been dreaming of winning these classes since I’ve been a little kid. Since I can remember, Calgary and Aachen have always been the shows that I want to win. I’ve been lucky enough to win Geneva a couple of times, but Aachen and Calgary have been missing. I’m not going to quit until I win them – I have one of them now, and I’m going to aim for the other one very soon. This is what drives us riders, I guess.

“Venard is a very strong, brave, and powerful horse. He has a lot of blood and energy in his jump. He doesn’t have the best of techniques, but because of his power and will to do good all the time, we’ve had the chance to understand each other over the years. He’s a very sensitive horse – he’s very difficult to get on and off, you can’t move him, and he’s a little bit shy with everything. But once he sees a jump, he just wants to jump it.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Germany Takes All Gold in U25, and a New Dutch Star Shines

Semmieke Rothenberger and Flanell. (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

German U25 riders matched their Senior counterparts when claiming all the gold medals in the FEI Dressage European Championship U25 at Hagen (GER) where a new Dutch star was born.

Semmieke Rothenberger (Flanell), Raphael Netz (Elastico), Ellen Richter (Vinay NRW), and Ann-Kathrin Lindner (FBW Sunfire) grabbed Team gold, pinning The Netherlands’ Devendra Dijkstra (Hero), Febe van Zwambagt (Edson), Jessica Poelman (Chocolate Cookie RDP), and Jasmien de Koeyer (Esperanza) into silver medal spot.

Sweden took the bronze when Nathalie Wahlund (Cerano Gold), Jennifer Lindvall (Midt West Casino), Elin Mattson (Beckham), and Lina Dolk (Languedoc) pipped Denmark by a narrow margin.

Germany’s Rothenberger and Netz and The Netherlands’ Poelman posted the three highest scores in the team competition and continued to be locked in battle for the individual and Freestyle titles over the last two days.

Grand Prix

In Saturday’s Grand Prix which decided the Individual medals, Netz squeezed Rothenberger off the top step of the podium by just 0.052%. This a young man with a remarkable story. His family had no connection with horses, but he was born with a passion to ride.

“When I was four, I was allowed to get on a horse for lunging lessons; they lunged me for over one year and then my father said if he’s tough enough to do it for a year without reins, then he really wants to do it! So we rented horses a lot and when I was nine they bought me my first pony. They had no idea what they were doing and neither did I, so they bought a three-year-old Haflinger! We grew together, we learned together, and then when he was seven and I was 13, we did our first Small Tour together and got our first Prix St George placement,” Netz explained.

He was talent-spotted by Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl when he was just 17. “She sent me an email asking if I wanted to ride for her – I thought it was a fake! But we ended up having a call and I took the train to Bavaria and stayed there for four days. And I just fitted in perfectly. So I finished school, packed my things, and moved,” said the young rider who has been working for the German star for the last five years.

Partnered with Elastico, who is owned by Japanese rider Akane Kuroki, Netz’ career is blossoming. He describes the stallion as “a cool dude! It’s a great feeling just to enter the arena on a beautiful horse like this. Growing together with him wasn’t that easy because he was used to different training, but we did our first competition one year ago and we finished third,” he explained. Kuroki saw the special relationship the young German was building with her horse and generously offered to let him ride it.  “I’m very thankful to her. She said go for it and we went for it and here we are!” Netz said.

Freestyle

Rothenberger had her day to shine when taking Freestyle gold. Netz’s end result was a score of 81.210 while Rothenberger’s mare Flannel posted 81.955 for a brilliant performance.

This 22-year-old rider, who hails from a family steeped in the Dressage world, already has a lifetime of Championship experience, winning multiple titles over the last decade at Pony, Junior, and Young Rider level and she is continuing in the same vein in U25.

“This has been such a perfect Championship; it’s super organised here and the Kasselmann family did an amazing job!” Rothenberger said.

She was thrilled with her mare. “I’ve always believed that Flanell has no limits and I still do. This horse is absolutely incredible. I’ve never had anything like her and it’s such a blessing to go in there with such a horse knowing that as long as I, the rider, don’t make a mistake, this horse can go for it. She’s shown it in this Championship; yesterday we had a rider mistake, but I’m incredibly happy with how she’s done at her first European Championship.

“I got her in May last year and due to Corona, we had a lot of time to get to know each other. But the show season didn’t quite get going, so this is only her fourth competition with me, and she just keeps getting better!” she added.

Bronze went to Poelman whose Freestyle ride was a pleasure to watch, filled with lightness and harmony.

A big surprise

“I never expected a medal – it’s a big surprise even to ride here!” said the 20-year-old who hails from close to Amsterdam. “I have this horse only since November last year and we only went to one international show together before. I rode international in Ponies and Juniors but never at a really high level; this is my very first Championship,” Poelman explained.

She says her sudden rise to stardom is all due to the lovely gelding Chocolate Cookie RDP, which was previously competed by Dutch counterpart Dana van Lierop. Poelman’s trainer Lotje Schoots put the pair together and it’s clearly the perfect partnership.

“He is really nice and very easy to ride, and I have a great connection with him. He is always very willing,” said the young rider who produced wonderful piaffe and passage from the 14-year-old gelding.

She only competed for fun until last year when she was invited to ride in an observation trial by Chef d’Equipe Monique Peutz. “We had winter training for riders and Jessica told me she had Chocolate Cookie and I said bring him along, and it looked so nice. First she was thinking she’d start slowly, but I said no, there’s an international competition in Exloo, so just give it a try, and she did and she did very well – now she has one silver and two bronze European U25 medals!” said the Dutch team manager.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
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